By Jennifer R. Farmer
Years ago, communicators focused on sharing a client’s message with the media and the media alone. More recently, communicators have learned that to deliver a message, they must communicate with members of the media as well as bloggers, podcasters, influencers and micro-influencers. But once again, communicators are needing to be creative about how to communicate a message or amplify a cause.
The media has been contracting for years and that contraction presents an opportunity to rethink what we mean when we say “media.” As the media contracts, journalists are under increasing pressure to cultivate loyal followings. Publications not only want journalists to write well and to write expeditiously, they also want them to garner likes and follows on social media. The more traffic a website receives, the more the outlet can charge for advertising. And as journalists are asked to do more to lure in readers, the people who engage journalists will also need to do more.
Why Is This Happening?
The shift to a 24/7 news cycle has meant that media outlets must constantly produce content and do so while keeping costs as low as possible. Additionally, the switch to digital versus print means that outlets have lost valuable advertising resources. That has led to cuts in newsrooms across the country.
That leaves people who love to write and tell compelling stories in a challenging situation; their passion must be split between the newsrooms that employ them and their personal brand. In today’s media landscape, a personal brand is like insurance. It will protect you from storms and unforeseen emergencies. Therefore, the currency for journalists is no longer how well or how quickly one writes but rather the expansiveness of their brand and network. That makes journalists even more concerned about building their platform.
One of the ways they’re doing that is by identifying their audience, curating email and text lists, and distributing newsletters and other communications. They are going directly to the consumer. In fact, I can think of several journalists who no longer work for media publications but instead produce and distribute their own newsletters.
For people who want to amplify critical work, it is no longer enough to rely on the media in the traditional sense. They must focus on communicating with anyone with a platform, whether they work for a mainstream outlet or a fledging personal enterprise. In 2022, newsletters and newsletter curators will be a communicator’s best friend.